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Jets Spotlight: Austin Seferian-Jenkins

Hey, Hey, Whattaya Say, Dolphins Destroyed By ASJ?

Cliff McBride/Getty Images

Austin Seferian-Jenkins is a big man. At 6' 6", 262 pounds, that much is fair to say.  His nickname is Hercules.  No joke.  Seferian-Jenkins, also known as ASJ, was originally drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the 38th overall selection in the second round of the 2014 NFL draft.   ASJ struggled to adjust to the NFL.  Like most rookie tight ends his production was limited at first.  ASJ had some problems with the coaching staff, he had some problems with injuries, and he had some problems with dropped passes. Eventually Tampa Bay soured on ASJ and cut him in 2016.  The New York Jets claimed ASJ off waivers and he played one game for the Jets before suffering a high ankle sprain which kept him out several weeks.  Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins will be his first game back since getting injured.

Despite ASJ's struggles he has actually produced at a fairly high level for a young tight end when he was in the lineup. Coming into the 2016 season ASJ had played a total of 16 NFL games, exactly one full season's worth of games over two NFL seasons.  In those sixteen games ASJ managed to produce 42 receptions for 559 yards and six touchdowns, which is actually pretty good at a position notorious for modest statistics early in careers.  Here are ASJ's NFL statistics:




























On Sunday the New York Jets face the Miami Dolphins in Miami.  The Dolphins are a team that has struggled mightily this year with tight ends and big wide receivers.  Martellus Bennett had the second biggest receiving day of his long career against the Dolphins in 2016.  Cleveland Browns huge wide receiver Terrelle Pryor put up the best day of his career against the Dolphins.  Pryor's Browns teammate Gary Barnidge put up his best receiving totals of the year in the same game.  A.J. Green had the second best day of his season against Miami, torching them for 173 yards and a touchdown.  Green's teammate C.J. Uzomah also had the second best day of his 2016 season against the Dolphins.  All these players are either tight ends or jumbo wide receivers, and they all had breakout games against this year's Dolphins team.  Are you sensing a pattern here?

Austin Seferian-Jenkins has been a Jet for only a brief period of time.  He plays for a Jets team that does not in general favor passes to the tight end.  However, the Jets presumably signed ASJ for a reason.  He is by far the Jets' best option at the move tight end position, a position which holds much promise against the Dolphins.  It may be too much to ask for ASJ to be heavily involved in the offense in his first game back, but if the Jets didn't pick ASJ up for this kind of matchup, why the heck did they sign him at all?

There are other big guys for the Jets to target on Sunday, players with better resumes than ASJ.  Brandon Marshall and Quincy Enunwa may well torch the Dolphins' size averse secondary.  That may leave ASJ as nothing  more than an afterthought in Sunday's game.  But maybe it works the other way around.  Maybe the Dolphins feel that only Marshall and Enunwa pose a serious threat in the Jets passing game, and maybe they overlook the heretofore only modestly accomplished ASJ.   If that happens, perhaps ASJ will emerge as a surprise dominant force against a Dolphins' pass defense that has no answers for a receiver of his immense proportions.

Sunday presents an interesting opportunity for ASJ.  Under the right circumstances this game is set up to be his coming out party with the Jets.  If the Jets include ASJ prominently in their game plan look for him to make the Dolphins pay for overlooking him.  Austin Seferian-Jenkins, this is your time in the spotlight.  The stage is set, time for you to deliver the goods.  Let's hope you shine bright and wreak havoc on an unsuspecting Dolphins secondary come Sunday afternoon.